I spent another hot Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, my favorite place to be. This one was spent making Steve’s favorite pepper relish. My mom introduced him to it and, of course, hers was much better than mine could ever possibly be! But, time passes and with no mom to make it, my relish has to suffice as the zest needed to brighten grilled chicken or meat or add flavor to a winter’s everyday lunch sandwich or salad.
Bought the peppers straight from the field at Parson’s Farm Stand in Sharon Springs, New York. When I told Kenyon, the farmer, that I needed 18 of each color along with 16 onions, out to the fields we went so I wouldn’t deplete the stock piled in baskets on the stand. Could anything be fresher? I don’t think so! They were so beautiful that we started thinking about other things to do with them – a lovely sweet pepper bisque, some roasted peppers with mozzarella and evo and crusty bread, grilled with a hunk of salmon or a chicken breast, and the 1940s favorite Stuffed Bell Peppers. Once the latter came to mind we decided to go back to Kenyon later in the week and give the old school lunchroom special a place on our retro-menu.
Makes about sixteen 8-ounce jars
18 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and membrane removed
18 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and membrane removed
16 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks
4 hot red or green chiles, stems and seeds removed
8 cups (2 quarts) white vinegar
5½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons coarse or pickling salt
Run the peppers, onions, and chiles through the medium blade of a food grinder or, alternately, through a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.
Place the pepper mixture into a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain well, discarding the liquid.
Transfer the pepper mixture to a large canning kettle or stockpot. Add 4 cups of the vinegar and 4 cups of cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and drain well, discarding the liquid.
Return the pepper mixture to the kettle and add the remaining 4 cups of vinegar along with the sugar and salt. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and continue to cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and pack into hot, sterilized jars. Seal and let cool before storing.